Eq: Large Cap

(New York)

The stock market just finished a sensational year, capping what seems a one-in-a-lifetime nine-year run. However, there is something very surprising about this rally that is different than those in the past—more and more Americans are sitting it out because of fear. Since the start of 2012, nearly a trillion Dollars has been pulled from retail equity mutual funds (some went back in as ETFs). The market rose 116% over the same period. In the last three years, US stock funds (ETFs included) have seen net outflows each year.

FINSUM: The Financial Crisis left deep scars for investors all across the country, and the traumatic effects of it can be seen in the data.

(New York)

It is that time of the year again, and investors need to watch out. January is historically the top month for retail bankruptcies, and it seems likely there is going to be another cull this year. Last year saw a furious pace of retail bankruptcies, with more companies going bust than during the Great Recession. January is traditionally when most companies file, according to data going back to 1981.

FINSUM: Christmas sales were a little better than feared this year, so a couple of zombies might linger on longer than January, but this is certainly going to be another year of retail bankruptcies.

(New York)

Well-known hedge fund manager Jeremy Grantham has published an article in Barron’s considering the state of the US equity market. His piece is well-thought out and communicated and comes to a clear conclusion—the bull market has more room to run. Basing his argument on a mix of historical market data, economic info, and psychological analysis, Grantham reluctantly comes to the conclusion that the bull market may be entering its final “melt up” phase. He says that while this is one of the priciest markets in history, “strangely, I find the less statistical data more compelling in this bubble context than the simple fact of overpricing”.

FINSUM: We know Grantham personally and respect his views. He was a pioneer in the statistical study of markets, but here says he leans away from that view, which is very noteworthy.

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